Tuesday News Roundup: Parts Of NM Remain Under Flash Flood Watch

Jul 29, 2014

Credit Jared via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Parts Of New Mexico Remain Under Flash Flood WatchThe Associated Press

Much of northern and eastern New Mexico remain under a flash flood watch as another storm system moves across the state.

The National Weather Service says scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected Tuesday to travel east and drop in intensity by mid-morning. But forecasters say another round of severe storms will likely pop up by late afternoon in central and northern New Mexico through the evening.

The storms could lead to flood and possibly bring hail. Forecasters say the areas also may see strong winds up to 50 mph.

Roswell got more than an inch of rain an hour in a two-hour span Monday night and early Tuesday morning

New Mexico will likely see a break in severe weather Wednesday but more storms are expected to move in by Thursday.

King Says He'll Ask Court To Decide Donation Issue - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A campaign finance case involving the New Mexico's race for governor is apparently headed to the state Supreme Court

Democratic nominee and current Attorney General Gary King says he'll ask the justices to decide whether he has to return certain donations as Secretary of State Diana Duran contends.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the issue centers on the timing of the contributions. They were made weeks after the June 3 primary election, and Duran contends that contributions for the primary election cycle cannot be accepted after that election.

Duran is a Republican and King says Duran's office is politically motivated in how it's handling the matter.

Duran denies any partisan motivation. She contends the three donations exceeded the state's contribution limits by a total of nearly $11,000.

Man Arrested After New Mexico Capitol Evacuated - The Associated Press

A 48-year-old man has been arrested following the evacuation of the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe after a caller allegedly threatened to kill himself there and blow up the building.

State Police Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez says the building was closed Monday afternoon after being evacuated. Normal operations resume Tuesday.

Gutierrez said officers arrested 48-year-old Matthew Pacheco Monday night at a drug store in Taos, which is about 55 miles north of Santa Fe.

Gutierrez described Pacheco as suicidal and said he is accused of crimes that include making a bomb scare and using a telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend.

It's not immediately known whether Pacheco has an attorney.

Appeals Court Upholds Gun Rule - The Associated Press

A federal appeals court has upheld the government's right to demand that gun dealers in Southwestern border states tell authorities if someone buys more than two semi-automatic rifles within five days.

The 10th U.S Circuit Court of appeals said it was siding with other appellate courts in affirming a lower court's decision in favor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Ron Peterson Firearms of Albuquerque and two other gun shops filed suit challenging a demand letter from the ATF to certain gun shops in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The letter requires them to notify authorities if someone buys more than two of the rifles in a five-day span.

The letter was issued as part of an ATF effort to crackdown on weapons trafficking to Mexico.

Retiree Health Care Agency Proposes Solvency Plan - The Associated Press

Taxpayers and public employees would chip in more money over three years under a proposal to improve the finances of a program providing health care for retired state and local government workers.

The Retiree Health Care Authority says the Legislature will be asked to approve the proposal when it convenes in January.

Under the proposal, about 100,000 public employees would make an additional $15 million in annual payroll contributions if the increases are fully implemented. Governmental employers — meaning taxpayers — would increase their yearly payments by $30 million.

A government worker or educator earning $40,000 annually would pay an extra $150 a year. The proposal is for a three-year phase-in of the increase.

New Mexico Tax Holiday Starts Friday For Shoppers - The Associated Press

New Mexico's annual tax holiday is approaching and will provide shoppers with savings on purchases of school supplies, computers and some clothing and shoes.

Starting Friday through the weekend, there will be no gross receipts tax on certain products purchased at participating retailers.

The tax rate varies across the state, but exceeds 8 percent in some communities.

No tax will be imposed on computers up to $1,000, including tablets; and computer hardware costing no more than $500, including printers.

Also tax-free are certain clothing and shoes up to $100 and school supplies under $30.

Cell phones and video game devices remain subject to taxation.

The Taxation and Revenue Department's web site lists the tax treatment of various goods.

Military School Official Accused Of Sexual Battery - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Military Institute's athletic director faces a misdemeanor sexual battery charge in Virginia.

Reginald "Reggie" Franklin is accused of groping the wife of an alumnus during a school function, a dinner party in McLean in Fairfax County on Feb. 22.

A lawyer for the 57-year-old Franklin says his client is innocent and that the allegations are untrue.

Attorney Phoenix Harris also says Franklin turned himself in to police in Virginia on July 1 and has since returned to New Mexico.

Franklin has worked at NMMI for more than 24 years, and the school says he is in the process of retiring.

NMMI is a college preparatory high school and a junior college located in Roswell.

UNM To Unveil New Tennis Stadium - The Associated Press

The University of New Mexico is set to unveil its new tennis stadium.

Tomorrow is the grand opening for the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium near The Pit.

The school hopes the six sunken stadium courts, with TV-quality lights and a large electronic scoreboard, will be a boost for the university's tennis team.

The McKinnon Center, which will seat around 1,000 fans, comes courtesy of a $1.2 million donation that is part of a $7.5 million gift to the university.

NMFOG Announces Award Winners - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has named this year's winners of its annual Dixon First Amendment Award.

Albuquerque lawyer Charles "Kip" Purcell, Albuquerque Journal reporter Colleen Heild and Rep. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces will be honored at FOG's annual "Your Right To Know Luncheon" on Oct. 1.

The award is in memory of FOG co-founder and longtime board member William S. Dixon, formerly an Albuquerque attorney and leading defender of the First Amendment and the state's access laws.